A total of 61 cars were evaluated for the first stage of the LCA with the electric Fiat 500 coming to the fore with the smallest full-life footprint.
One classification is greenhouse gas emissions, which have been measured in excess of 150,000 miles, which means electric vehicles will perform just fine.
But the second relates to primary energy demand, which calculates the total amount of energy required during a similar cycle of manufacture, use, and recycling.
And for that rating, the Skoda Octavia’s diesel ownership ranks first as the least PED-rated car.
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According to Green NCAP, car buyers should attach the same importance to PED as they do to greenhouse gas emissions.
She said: “PED represents the sum of all primary energy extracted from nature to provide transportation, including coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, wind, waste, solar and nuclear.
“Given the scarcity and value of energy supplies, it must be used wisely and increase the efficiency of all processes in the vehicle’s life cycle.”
“In the context of the average European electricity mix, large and powerful battery electric vehicles may be in the same range as most diesel or petrol vehicles,” they added.
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The organization says: “While it is true that electric motors are highly efficient and the ability to recover kinetic energy mitigates energy losses, the effect of mass remains apparent.
“The analysis also highlights the increasing contributions of heavier chassis production, larger higher voltage batteries and the manufacture of more electrical components, such as cables and power circuits, to the estimated greenhouse gas output.”
While the UK government is committing billions of pounds to catalyze a rapid transition to electric vehicles by 2030, Alexander Damyanov, Green NCAP Technical Director, has suggested that electric vehicles are not a complete solution.
“If the goal is to reduce CO2, we have options,” he said.
“There is a rationale for using electricity if I only drive a few kilometers each day, if I don’t need a big car, and if I can charge with a good mix of renewable energy.
“If I’m using a dirty electric mix, and the calculations aren’t any better than a conventional car, I’d say something different.”
According to Damyanov, in the future there should be more focus on e-fuels, which are made from renewable energy.
He added, “The picture of the internal combustion engine is very bad, but it’s not the engine, it’s the fuel we put in it. If we fill it with dinosaurs, that’s our problem. It will burn what it should burn.”
Damyanov said he understands the Green NCAP numbers will draw criticism.
He explained, “There are people who only see black and white, and there are fans of electric cars and petrol heads.
“The only thing we can do is serve the customers, the consumers, who are our biggest stakeholders.
“If you saw a commercial for a large electric utility vehicle, that read ‘Save the Planet,’ would you really do it? The manufacturer would say, yes, of course, and others would make arguments from the other side. Our role is to present the information in the best possible way and in a very neutral way” .